Scottish emigrants came to Nova Scotia from all parts of Scotland, from the northern shores of the Highlands to the English border, from the Inner and Outer Islands, from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, and from all points in between.
Scots came to Halifax after its founding in June 1749; they came as Ulster Scots among the Planters from New England to accept land vacated by the Acadiens; they came as Highland soldiers to Windsor, now fighting for the British in the American Revolution; they came as Highlanders after the Battle of Culloden and the Highland Clearances when they, like the Acadiens, were driven from their lands; they came as Loyalists, after the American Revolution; they came as Lowlanders also seeking a better life for themselves; they came for many other personal reasons.
They settled in all parts of Nova Scotia, from the northern most tip of eastern Cape Breton Island to the westerly most tip at Yarmouth, and the western border at New Brunswick.
These are the Scots who built a future of themselves and their children in New Scotland (Nova Scotia) that Sir William Alexander founded, and built the Nova Scotia we know today. Many of their descendants are found in all parts of the Globe; many are still in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is Highland at heart, with greater concentrations of Highland descendants living in Shelburne, Pictou, Colchester, Victoria and Inverness Counties, and substantial concentrations in Cumberland, Guysborough, Hants, Yarmouth and Antigonish Counties.
Scots tracing their ancestry back to all parts of Scotland constitute a major proportion of the population of each of Nova Scotia's eighteen counties.
William Alexander, son of Sir William Alexander, brought Scottish settlers to Port Royal in
Annapolis County in 1629. When the colony was returned to French rule in 1632, they were forced to abandon the "Charles Fort" they built there, and return to Scotland.
The first permanent Highland Scottish settlers arrived in Pictou in 1773, on the ship Hector. Pictou is rightly acclaimed as the Birthplace of New Scotland, and the heart of Pictou County remains Highland Scottish to present time.
Highland clans are featured predominantly on this website, also the "Border Clans" whose identity is more of a family than a clan in the true Highland meaning of clan. Those deemed to be Scottish families rather than clans, with descendants in Nova Scotia, are also featured. The inclusion of a Scottish family name is based on proof of ancestry in Scotland, and its presence within Nova Scotia today.
"An Act passed by the Scottish Parliament in 1587 `for the quieting and keeping in obedience of the .... inhabitants of the Borders, Highlands and Isles,' containing a roll of `the clans that have Captains, Chiefs and Chieftains .... as well on the Borders as the Highlands,' proves that so long ago as the sixteenth century Border families were described as clans, and one of the most important of these families was the Armstrongs." [page 38]